Australia announces 5.1 million dollar safeguard for international student course fees

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New Delhi, Feb.23 (ANI): Australia's Minister for Education Julia Gillard today announced a funding of Australian dollars 5.1 million to further strengthen Australia's international education industry.ccording to a Australian High Commission release, the funding will be made available to top up the Education Services for Overseas Students Assurance Fund (ESOS Assurance Fund) if required.

The ESOS Assurance Fund is the cornerstone of Australia's international student consumer protection framework which safeguards the course fees of international students.

The fund was established in 2000 with an Australian dollar one million start-up amount provided by the Government.

The funding is one of a number of measures the Australian Government has initiated to provide world-class international education services.

These measures include:

ESOS Amendment (Re-registration of Providers and Other Measures) Bill which will require all providers delivering education and training to international students to re register by 31 December 2010

The review of the current ESOS Act by the Hon Bruce Baird AM, which is due to report to the Australian Government shortly

A National International Student Strategy currently being developed through the Council Of Australian Governments

The International Students Hotline set up in mid 2009

The establishment of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency and a national regulator for the Vocational Education and Training sector.

The Government's decision will provide additional certainty for students and underscores the Government's determination to ensure that the international education sector remains both strong and vibrant into the future.

Gillard also welcomed the strengthening of rules for education providers of international students by requiring all colleges to re-register under new, stronger criteria by the end of 2010.

The new rules come under the Education Services for Overseas Students Amendment (Re-registration of Providers and Other Measures) Bill 2009 which passed the Senate yesterday and will help weed out dodgy providers from the industry.

This will mean that all education and training providers currently registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) will have to re-register under the strengthened criteria by 31 December 2010.

This is intended to reinforce confidence in the quality of the Australian international education sector and to strengthen the registration process. Only those who have met the strengthened entry requirements will remain on the register from 1 January 2011.

Providers will also have to prove that education is their principal purpose and that they are able to deliver that education to a high standard.

The Australian Government is deeply committed to ensuring international students who choose to study in Australia receive a quality education and training.

While the vast majority of education providers are delivering quality education, unfortunately the sector has been tarnished by the activities of a few.

The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations is working hand-in-hand with each state and territory to ensure the re-registrations are managed efficiently and they are implemented consistently.

The new Act will bring in further changes to strengthen the regulation of the international education industry. For example, there will be greater accountability placed on providers for the actions of the agents they use and there will be increased reporting on action taken to assist students when a provider closes.

These amendments are one of a series of measures the Australian Government is taking to ensure Australia continues to offer high-quality international education. (ANI)

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